Have you ever been asked to do something really hard? What was it? Did you do it?
God promised to give Abraham and his wife Sarah a little boy. And so they waited, and waited, until that little boy came. His name was Isaac, which means joy or laughter. But then God asked Abraham to do something very hard. Listen to what God asked Abraham to do:
Genesis 22:2. “[God said] Take your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…”
What did God ask Abraham to do? God told Abraham to take Isaac up on top of a mountain and offer him as a sacrifice to God. Do you know what a sacrifice is? A sacrifice is something that dies in our place. God was showing Abraham that his sin required a sacrifice. A substitute. Someone who would take his place and die for his sin. Isaac would be Abraham’s substitute that would die for Abraham’s sins. But then something amazing happened! Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, Jesus stopped him. Jesus called down from heaven and told Abraham to stop. Then the Bible says that Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in a bush. So he took that ram and sacrificed it instead of Isaac. The ram became Isaac’s substitute! Yay!
What does all this mean? It means that all of us have sinned and we all need someone to be our substitute. Our sacrifice. Who is our substitute? Jesus! Jesus died in our place for our sins.
As you grow up God will ask you to do some very hard things too. Like loving others that are mean. But remember, when we love others we are pointing to Jesus, just like Isaac did. And when we fail to love others, it’s OK because we have a substitute named Jesus.
Because of Jesus I can know that God has provided a substitute for my sins.
With Jesus I can love others even when it’s hard.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
As a family find some things (clothes, toys) that you can give away. Talk about sacrificing for others as you do.
Jesus, thank you for being my substitute. Help me to love others like you, even when it’s hard. Amen.